Entries Tagged 'Wednesday is Friends Day' ↓

How to Conduct a Social Media Audit – Part 2

Conducting a social media audit

Part One of our How to Conduct a Social Media Audit covered the topics of setting up a website, blog, and getting started with email marketing. Now that we’ve established our marketing home base, we’ll move on to the actual social media platforms themselves, starting with Twitter.

Winning with Twitter

As you conduct your social media audit, take a look at your Twitter setup and check the following things:

  • Is your background branded consistently with your website theme (colors, logo, etc.)?
  • Is your bio worded the same as your bios on other social media platforms?
  • Are you tweeting a mixture of relevant content? In other words, some links to your blog posts, some retweets, some links to other content of interest to your audience?
  • Are you engaging your audience? Tips:
    • Use Twitter’s search function to find conversations relevant to your market and join in the conversation by providing useful information.
    • Respond to all @replies and thank those who have retweeted your content.
    • Offer perks available only to your followers.
    • Use relevant hashtags or even create a hashtag for your brand. For instance, I have begun using the hashtag #OBW, for OnBloggingWell.
  • Are you building your list of followers?
    • Follow back all those who directly engage with you by retweeting your content, etc.
    • Use the search tool to find people in your market and follow them.
    • It’s not recommended to use auto-following tools, so if you’re doing that, you may want to stop and clean up your list of people you’ve followed by narrowing it to only those who are relevant to your market.
  • Are you creating lists and thanking those who include your tweets on their lists?
  • Are you using a social media management tool, such as HootSuite, to schedule your tweets and keep you organized?
  • Are you coordinating your tweets with your content marketing calendar so that your blog posts, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, and tweets are all following the same topic?
  • Are your tweets conversational?
  • Do you sometimes offer insight into who you are personally?
  • Do you share “re-tweetable” content, such as relevant and/or inspirational quotes?
  • Are you asking people to retweet your posts and leaving enough characters for them to do so?

What else do we need to add to this list of things to check Twitter-wise when conducting a social media audit?

How to Conduct a Social Media Audit – Part 1

how to conduct a social media audit

If you’ve ever wondered how to conduct a social media audit, we’ll be answering that question during the next few weeks. With the growth of social media’s importance in search engine rankings, it’s vital for bloggers to take the time to evaluate their social media gameplan, see what’s lacking, and make an effort to correct issues.

During many posts here at OnBloggingWell, I’m speaking to myself as much as my readers, and this is especially true in this case. It’s time for me to conduct a social media audit and make some serious improvements in my social media strategy.

How about you? Let’s see how we both stack up:

It all starts with your main web presence

Before launching (or firming up) a social media gameplan, we need to make sure we have an effective website for our social media platforms to drive traffic to.

  • Pick one site to be the hub of your online marketing and make the URL of that site be named after yourself (if you are your product, such as authors, speakers, entertainers, etc.) or your company. Get a dot com URL if at all possible with no hyphens or underscores.
  • Attract the eye of the visitor by placing compelling images and/or videos “above the fold” (the top half) of your website. A popular trend in website design is the featured post slider.
  • Make sure you have social media icons in an easy-to-spot location on your site, again – above the fold.
  • Include a lead capture form that presents an enticing offer in exchange for your visitor’s name and email address.

Add a blog, if you don’t have one

  • Companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. If you’re not blogging, you’re missing out on some great opportunities.
  • Embed your blog directly into your main website. It was once popular to have one site for your main website and a separate one for your blog. This is no longer the case. Blogs are such a great traffic generation tool – don’t waste the traffic you get from your blog by then attempting to redirect it to your main site. Put you blog ON your main site. (Example: yourdomain.com/blog or blog.yourdomain.com – either way works.)
  • Brand your blog with the same color scheme and graphics as your main website.
  • Blog on a consistent schedule and as frequently as possible. The more often you blog, the more traffic you generate.
  • Share links to your blog posts on your social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Email Marketing

  • Include email marketing in your gameplan. Have a lead capture system in place before you concentrate on driving traffic to your site.
  • Include social sharing links inside your email messages.
  • Place your opt-in form in a prominent position on your site.
  • Create and schedule 5-7 “Know-Like-Trust” emails in an auto-responder to be delivered after subscribers join your list. The first email should be the delivery link for your free offer, followed immediately by a welcome message that tells subscribers what to expect now that they’re on your mailing list. Then, follow up those messages with at 5-7 more messages that will let your subscribers get to know you. Tell your business story – why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you hope to accomplish. Tell how what you’re doing can benefit them.
  • Follow your 5-7 KLT emails with a pitch for your products and/or services.
  • Repeat the sequence pattern.

In the next post of this series, we’ll continue discussing How to Conduct a Social Media Audit.

The Troubles, Tricks and Treats of Social Content Marketing

Social media tricks and treats

Since we’re in the midst of a series on Making the Most of Social Media and today is Halloween, I’m going to share some tricks on how to turn social content marketing troubles into treats.

How to get started with social media

Trouble – The trouble with social media is that when you first start using it, no one listens. And, honestly, no one really cares.

Trick – Write your posts and updates for the few you know who will listen. Friends, family, customers – find out what they want to hear. Make a list of blog post ideas. Then create content about that. And create more. And more. No matter what.

Keep asking for input (or do market research for topic ideas) and keep creating content. Try presenting the content in a variety of ways – images (like Pinterest), video (YouTube), microblogging (Twitter) – see what works best, but no matter what, keep publishing on the networks that fit in best with your industry.

Where should you publish content? Start where your audience is. If they prefer Pinterest, be there. If they hang out on Google+, be there. Just don’t give up.

The treat? It takes time to rise above the noise in social media. But, once you do, you will have built a tribe of loyal followers who can become “brand evangelists” for you and your products & services. Then all your efforts will be worth it!

So, you’ve attracted a few followers – now what?

Trouble – Now that you’ve gained a small following, what should you do to nurture those followers and keep their interest in you and your business?

Trick – Think about who is following you. What are they like? What do they like to do? What are their dreams? Their dreads? Make a list (write it, don’t just think it) of at least 10 of their biggest dreads, then brainstorm a list of solutions to those challenges they are facing. Now, create social media content that presents those solutions to your audience.

Treat – Your audience will first of all keep coming back to consume your content because you’re directly providing the answers they are seeking. Plus, they’ll share your content throughout their social networks to their friends, who are likely facing similar problems. This will help grow your audience, plus you will have developed the most necessary component a marketer needs before you can really start marketing — trust.

Is social media worth the effort?

Trouble – Many bloggers and marketers use social media haphazardly. They don’t measure their results, and therefore have no clue whether or not all their work is working.

Trick – Set a goal for what you hope to accomplish with your social media efforts. Do you want to add X number of people download your giveaway and join your email list? Increase your sales by X percent? The goal shouldn’t be to increase your followers. Having a large following with no results doesn’t have a pay off for your time and effort. Set a goal that focuses on how to capitalize on the work you’ve put into growing your tribe. Spend at least 20 minutes putting your social media goal into writing.

Treat – When you set a goal and measure your progress, you’ll know whether or not what you’re doing is working. Plus, as you provide great content to your followers (you’re helping them solve their biggest problems, remember?), then they will be more likely to convert from leads to customers.

You’ve been at this social media thing a while now and you’re wondering what you’re doing wrong.

Trouble – You’ve gathered a following a set a goal, but can’t get any conversions.

Trick – Content. Yep, content. It’s really the trick to solve almost all of your problems. No one’s buying your product? Create content that focuses on how your product benefits your leads. Create content that educates your audience about your industry so they’ll understand how your products and services can help them.

Make your content remarkable. In other words, make it so compelling, so relevant, so useful to your audience that they’ll be excited to share it with their friends. Use compelling content. Address hot topics. Connect it to current events. Research the type of content your target market is already sharing (Hint: Hang out and participate in their social media communities) and create similar content.

How do you continue to grow your brand using social media?

Trouble – You’ve gained a little success and want to scale it up.

Trick – Keep on communicating with your community. Go where they are. Talk like they talk. Share what they need. Here are the three basic rules of success for social media: Join. Lurk. Share.

Treat – As you join in communities where your target audience hangs out and lurk around, learning more about their dreams and dreads, then you’ll be able to contribute more by sharing content with them. The treat here is that they will get to know you. They will begin to like you. And they will grow to trust you. Then (and only then) will you be able to market products and services to them that will help them even further.

If you’re only in this to market products and services and not to help your audience, you’re in the wrong business. The point (and success) of social content marketing is to help others by providing useful content through the means of social networks. Give away quality, helpful content for free, and that will enable you to sell more helpful, quality content later – after you’ve built a relationship.

Don’t trick people into buying your stuff – treat them to quality content that will help them. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with the treat of growing a successful business.

 

Getting a Leg Up with Social Media

Getting a Leg Up with Social Media

As I mentioned in an earlier post, SEO as we know it is dying. Instead of creating hordes of backlinks to help your site gain authority in the search engine rankings, the new trend in optimization includes a heavy dose of Social Media Clout. In other words, the backlinks you need to be developing should come from interactions with your community through your social sites – not artificial backlink building, which has been the SEO norm for years.

Social media gives your website a leg up in the online world, and as I also mentioned, we’ll be focusing on it quite a bit for a while now. Today’s post will go over the basics of social media and talk about how we can make the most of it. Then we’ll get into a series of how to use each of the major social platforms to help build our online presence.

So, what exactly is social media?

According to a quote from Groundswell, it’s “people connecting via technology to get things they need from each other, bypassing traditional institutions, like corporations.” Social media has evolved since Charlene Li and John Bernoff first made that statement, though, as today, most corporations have jumped on the social media bandwagon.

Other than search ranking improvements, what are the benefits of using social media?

  • It’s free
  • It enables you to connect with a global audience
  • It lets you check out what your competition is up to
  • It increases your web traffic
  • It helps create visibility and awareness of your products, services & yourself
  • It establishes your credibility (ever heard the phrase “social proof”?)
  • It lets you collaborate with others on projects
  • It can shorten product development time
  • It generates leads and sales
  • It strengthens your brand

What are some steps toward social media success?

  • Before crashing the party, listen to the conversation – Each social media platform has its own unique purpose and personality. Get a feel for each one instead of just barging in.
  • Define your target audience – Knowing who you’re trying to reach will help you determine which platform to focus the most attention on.
  • Determine your social media objectives – What do you hope to accomplish using social media? Look through the above list of benefits and decide which items are most important for you and your business.
  • Plan your strategy – You will save time and frustration by planning a social media strategy instead of just randomly posting without purpose.
  • Establish your presence – The first step when joining a new social media platform is to fill out your profile as completely as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep your social profiles as uniform as possible throughout all the social media platforms you participate on.
  • Position yourself as an expert in your field – You can interact with useful information and tips, respond well to questions asked by others, create relevant groups, etc.
  • Build a following – This is best done organically. As you follow, like, connect and post useful content, others will begin following, liking and connecting back with you. It does happen fairly quickly, but don’t pay someone to build your social media audience for you (people do charge to do that). The point of social media is to build relationships, which takes time and effort. And seriously, you’ll benefit most from those connections who have also benefited from you.
  • Provide value to your community – That is how others will benefit from you, by reading and implementing the content you share. Be useful, helpful, and friendly, and soon your social media clout will begin to grow.

 

Naming the 5 starters to your social media marketing team

social media marketing slam dunk

With all the social media platforms available, it’s hard to pick which one(s) to start with. Just as each position on a basketball team has a specific function, so does each social media platform. Each one has it’s own special ability, and if you combine them carefully, you’ll set your business up for a social media marketing slam dunk!

Post Player – In basketball, the post is often the highest scorer on the team. They have to be mobile, strong, tall, and consistent. They hang out in the paint and the other players feed the ball to the post, who scores point after point throughout the game. In social media marketing, your blog plays the post position.

Your blog should be the center (another name for the post position in basketball) of your marketing strategy. Other players feed leads to your blog, and your blog catches those leads and pushes up to the goal and closes with a score (sale or other desired action).

Point Guard – Point guards are feisty players, always on the move, keeping a constant eye on the entire court. They drive most of the “traffic” to the post, but can score as well. In today’s market, Facebook plays the point guard position. It is fast to change as its owners deem necessary, and for most marketers, feeds the most traffic to the business blog.

(Note: If your business blog is set up correctly, organic search traffic will exceed Facebook traffic, but we’re talking about your social media players in this post.)

Wing Players – These players (often referred to as small forward and power forward) are talented and fun to watch. You never know when they’ll pop in a 3-pointer, but they also often feed the ball to the post. When choosing your social media starters, placing YouTube in the power forward position and Twitter as your small forward is a good idea. They are strong, fast, and versatile, and can help advance your marketing.

Shooting Guard – Choosing which platform to start in the fifth position largely depends upon the makeup of your team (business). Some choose Pinterest, others LinkedIn, and some marketers pick another platform altogether, such as MySpace or some other platform. Picking your fifth starter is an important decision, and the best way to know which social media platform to pick is to know your market and know the capabilities of each platform.

During the next few weeks, we’ll have a Wednesday is Friends Day on social media marketing with the emphasis of what each individual platform can do for your marketing strategy. On Marketing Monday, we’ll start a series called “marketing with a blog.”

We’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, how each one can contribute to your team of marketing players, and specific “plays” (tactics) you, as the coach, can call to combine the talents of your team.

Over the next several weeks, Wednesdays’ posts will share the social media players of your team and on Mondays we’ll discuss how to score with your blog. By the end of this series, you’ll be ready to slam dunk your opponents with your talented social media marketing team.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!